A few weeks ago we did a blog post on stress and anxiety, something we are both navigating in our lives. It’s so funny to think about “when we were younger” and all we wanted to do was grow up. Be an adult. Make our own decisions. Claim that we would never be like our parents.
If we could only tell our younger self, don’t rush it. Enjoy the time. Yes, your parents are right and some day you will understand. Being an adult is stressful. Work, bills, social life, navigating day to day and then add…..kids! Your life will never be the same. Yes, it is for the better, but adds a whole other dimension.
A couple of weeks ago the Secret Life of Pets 2 came out on DVD. I really wanted to take Banks to see it in the theater, but time got away from us and before you know it, it was no longer in the theater. I was so excited for it to come out on DVD so we could have family movie night and watch it together.
First, if you haven’t seen it, you need to. It’s hilarious, good for adults and kids. Second, I AM MAX! Spoiler alert…if you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know details about the movie, stop reading now and come back after you’ve seen it. If you have seen it…proceed 🙂
There are lots of new characters introduced to Secret Life of Pets 2, but the one that hits home for me is Max’s owner Katie gets married and has a son, Liam. Liam forms a special bond with Max and Duke…his doggies. Duke takes this transition well, but when Liam tells Max he loves him, Max is forever changed.
He turns into this over protective “fur parent.” He is constantly stressed over Liam making sure he is ok and becomes so anxious about protecting him, he gets this crazy itch. He wants to protect him. Keep him from harm. Worries about his next step and what could possibly happen to him. Wow…sound like anyone you know?!?!
I actually didn’t come to realize that this was totally me until the second time I watched it. I started to think about when I became more anxious/stressed and it was after having Banks. I remember talking to Mel and telling her I was so anxious and didn’t know why. Looking back now it makes total sense.
I had become a new mom. All these thoughts start going through your mind. What if I’m a bad parent? What if I don’t know how to take care of a baby? Then once you have some of that down it’s…I have to go back to work. What if something happens to him while I am at work? Who is going to watch and take care of my sweet nugget? Am I a bad mom for going back to work? What if he goes to bed at night and doesn’t wake up? Is he eating enough? I stopped giving him breast milk at 6 months, am I a failure? Is he going to be ok?
Phew, we made it past that phase. But you know what…there is another. He is not listening at school. Am I doing something wrong at home? He can’t write his name and color like some of his classmates. Am I failing as a parent when I get home? We go on a vacation without him, what if something happens to him while we are gone? What if something happens to us?
Honestly the list goes on and on. I’ve realized that all these thoughts have been adding a level of stress and anxiety for me. It’s hard not to worry every second about your little ones, but is it healthy for us? No, it’s not. We need to realize that we are all doing the best we can. We are anxious/stressed because we love our child/children so much that we sometimes don’t know how to manage that. How do we let go? Well not totally let go, but how do we stress less about them?
Well, try and let them grow on their own. Let them learn and try new things. Insert…I let Banks go tubing over Labor Day weekend, yes by boat. I really thought I was going to pass out. I was counting down the minutes till he was done. Once he got off, he kept asking to go again. I can’t be the person to hold him back and away from the fun, so I told him how proud I was of him and glad he had fun. And…reluctantly let him go again.
Through watching this movie and some recent experiences, I have realized I am a helicopter parent. This is not who I want to be, so acceptance is the first step right? I think part of it is, we tried for over 5 years to have a child and now that our dream came true, we want to hold him tight and protect him from everything. I know that is not realistic and that I need to be better. I also now realize and appreciate everything my parents went through with me.
I never understood curfews or why I couldn’t go to that party with my friend. Or why I couldn’t go on a fun Spring Break with friends when I was in college. I get it now. The worry, the stress, the love you have for your children. They weren’t being mean or unfair, they were worried. Parents worry!
After realizing I AM MAX, I also realize that I can change and work on things. Having a child/children is the most beautiful/rewarding thing you will ever do. Enjoy it. Try not to stress and just be the best parent you can be. (Yes words to live by and I’m working on it). Know you are not alone. Talking about things and accepting things only make it better. I am working on being Max at the end of the movie 😉